This night is just like a thousand others; me and a demon, facing off in an alley. I'm not sure what it is, and to be honest, I don't care. It's big and slimy and has enough brute strength to overpower even me. It happens to have killed three people that I know of, and probably dozens that I don't. So here I am, kicking its ass. Or actually, getting slashed across the ribs with my own sword. That's another T-shirt ruined. But swords can be thrown, and so this one is, and it lodges in the beastie's heart. Score for me.

It's not even about her, any more. She died, finally, many years ago. I could say it's for Dawn, but she's old now. She got herself a husband and a family and a normal life, and there's very little to remind her that she was once an energy blob, that she had a sister who died to save her, that any of the demons and the darkness really exists. I used to stop by and see her, every once in a while – but we didn't talk so much, and hubby didn't appreciate it, and it was too easy for her to believe it was all real, what with me being the same as always. So I am reduced, once more, to loitering beneath the tree in her front lawn.

The last time she sought me out was when her daughter started growing up, and she got it into her head that the kid would turn out a Slayer. I tried to convince her that it wouldn't work that way, but she didn't listen to me. I was right, as it turned out – Lizzy got away scot-free. Possibly because when she got to the danger age I looked up the current Slayer, and protected her with everything I had until Lizzy turned eighteen. That was a fun time.

But like I was saying; it's not about her, any more. It's not even about the chip. I have no idea whether or not the damn thing is still working. I haven't tested it in at least a decade. I would love for it to be about her. I would adore it if I could be the tragic hero, fighting the good fight in memory of my lady love. I wouldn't even mind (whisper it) if I was a tortured soul working for redemption like that wanker Angelus is still. Nah. Not me. I got no reason to be doing what I'm doing, save maybe I got used to it while I was palling around with the Slayer.

Not exactly a reason, is it? But I'm not being blackmailed and yet I'm not actively trying to do evil deeds. The only other reason I can think of is that I; Spike, William the Bloody, killer of two Slayers; have become one of the good guys. And I'm damn sure that's never going to happen. I don't think God would let it.

So it's habit. That's all. Habit that keeps me risking my neck to protect the innocent. Habit that keeps me going out there night after night to do what I can against the encroaching darkness. Habit.

Right.